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New meth cooking method challenges state law enforcement

  1. buseman
    OKLAHOMA has done as much as any state to battle the proliferation of methamphetamine in its cities and towns, and yet there are miles to go before anyone will be able to claim victory against the scourge of this inexpensive and highly addictive drug.

    That's clear in recent reporting about the continuing explosion of the so-called shake-and-bake method of cooking meth.

    Not long ago, elaborate labs were the choice of cooks in Oklahoma. These labs produced larger quantities of meth and carried with them large risks for explosions and fires due to the highly volatile nature of the ingredients involved.

    The key ingredient is the tablet form of pseudoephedrine, which is found in common cold remedies. In 2004, Oklahoma became the first state to limit the amount of pseudoephedrine that could be purchased, and it eventually set up a registry to track sales.

    Oklahoma's action was driven in part by the deaths of law officers killed in the line of duty by meth heads, particularly that of Trooper Nikky Green.

    On the morning after Christmas in 2003, Green came across a mobile meth lab in southwestern Oklahoma, not far from his home.

    He tried to make an arrest at the scene — the suspect was a known meth cook — but following a struggle Green wound up being executed with his own weapon.

    Four months later, legislation bearing the names of Green and two other troopers was signed into law.

    The number of meth labs in the state soon plummeted. However, law enforcement soon saw an increase in the amount of Mexican product flowing into Oklahoma.

    That flow continues — as much as 70 percent of meth used here comes from Mexico. And now drug agents are encountering cooks who are making meth in containers as small as 20-ounce soft drink bottles.

    The practice is particularly prevalent in the northeastern part of the state.
    The toll inflicted by meth can't be overstated.

    The state medical examiner's office says at least 26 people have died this year due to overdoses, accidents while cooking the drug or other reasons. At least 68 died a year ago.

    Those who say this fight is a waste of time and money — there are many in that camp, as is always the case where illegal drugs are concerned — may indeed be right.

    Will meth ever be eradicated in Oklahoma or anywhere else? Doubtful. But the scores of innocent lives lost or wasted by methamphetamine, not to mention those endangered by it every day, demand that we continue doing all we can to reduce the awful toll taken by this insidious drug.

    July 13, 2010


  1. godztear
    I just saw a news article on TV the other day about the possible banning of pseudoephedrine all together in one of the Midwest states. I cannot seam to find a related article threw a quick google search, so if anyone else has information on this, please post here.
  2. drix
    The governor of US state Mississippi, Haley Barbour, has signed a bill restricting the use of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs containing pseudoephedrine.
    Pseudoephedrine is a sympathomimetic drug of the phenethylamine and amphetamine chemical classes, which is used as a nasal/sinus decongestant and stimulant.
    The drug is also, however, a important ingredient in methamphetamine, a highly addictive and dangerous street drug that increases levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.
    The statute, House Bill 512 received overwhelming support and passed through legislature within a week. The new rules will take effect from 1 July and will require a doctor's prescription for products containing pseudoephedrine, including popular nasal decongestants such as Sudafed and Advil Cold and Sinus.


    Prior to the opening of their regular meeting last Thursday, Gerald Aldermen heard a plea to prohibit the sale of pseudoephedrine within the city limits. Detective Sergeant Jason Grellner who heads the Franklin County Narcotic Enforcement Unit presented information to the board that convinced them to authorize the ban during their business meeting later that evening.
    Grellner told the board that pseudoephedrine was the critical ingredient in making methamphetamine.
    “There is no substitute for it in the meth-making process,” Grellner told the assembled crowd.
    When state lawmakers failed to ban pseudoephedrine at the state level, Grellner began taking his case to municipalities.
    The City of Washington was the first to implement the ban in July of 2009.
    Union quickly followed suit by implementing a ban of their own.
    Grellner presented his plan to the town leaders in Sullivan, but it was not made an ordinance there.
    In a unanimous vote, the aldermen made Gerald the third town in the county to agree to the ban.
    Cold tablets that contain pseudoephedrine have become very valuable in the drug trade. They can sell for as high as $50 a box on the street, or be traded for meth or other drugs.
    Grellner assured the board that there was still a large selection of cold remedies to choose from that do not contain pseudoephedrine.
    Sandy Mitchell owner of Medley’s Pharmacy, the only pharmacy in Gerald, says she is prepared to comply with the ordinance.
    “We will still have products available that contain pseudoephedrine,” Mitchell told The Republican. “People will need to have a prescription from their doctor to buy them.”


    Seems to be making it prescription only rather than an outright ban at the moment and has been for a while in some states, these articles are both from February.
  3. Jasim
    Pseudoephedrine is soon going to be banned in all OTC products. You'll only be able to obtain it via prescription from a doctor. In some ways I can't say it's necessarily a bad thing. The harm from the shake-and-bake method is too great. The addiction potential of this drug will always cause people to seek out any means (no matter how dangerous) to procure it.

    I believe in the freedom of every person to dictate what they put into their bodies, but the dangers caused by various legal restrictions regarding methamphetamine have made this a particularly volatile area of drug use. Until a sensible drug policy is adopted, I see no alternative but to place extreme restrictions on these precursors. Not that it's going to have much of an affect on meth use (since so much is now being imported), but at least it may curb the dangers of meth production in our own country.

    EDIT: I am of course referring to Senator Ron Wyden's bill if anyone is interested. I see no reason why it won't eventually get passed.
  4. drix
    This is what's happened in swims country, although the shake and bake method isn't popular here and there doesn't seem to be as many home cooks. Consequently we don't hear of many clan labs blowing up. Fires etc caused by making cannabis oil seem more common. Swim doesn't see it making a lot of difference here for similar reasons.
    A lot of the pseudoephedrine is covertly imported from China and Asia anyway due to restrictions already in place which made it very hard to buy large amounts from pharmacies. While there does seem to have been less in the media about it, swim finds meth seems just as prolific as before.
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